The 10 Best Sites To Rent Or Buy College TextBooks Cheaply

Saikat Basu 04-10-2011

cheap college textbooksI so wish the web was there when we were struggling to make ends meet in college and university. It was a constant battle of the conscience between spending on the date, or ‘squandering’ money on things like books and other learning objects. The library wasn’t much help as it often resembled the California gold rush with ten heads competing for one book.


The reason for my ire is that we didn’t have websites which told us where to find (rent or buy) cheap college textbooks. But today’s generation just has to type in a URL and hey presto, there are more than a dozen sites plying cheap textbooks for sale or rent.

I am on a slow burn, but let’s take a look at ten websites where you can get college textbooks for cheap.

Note: Most of these sites are US only.

BookRenter [Broken URL Removed]

cheap college textbooks

Start with the large search box that helps you trawl through 5 million textbooks. BookRenter offers you no-questions asked book return program plus free shipping. The range of categories cover almost all subjects that are taught in colleges (don’t forget to click the little ‘More’ links). BookRenter gives you different rental rates depending on the borrowing periods. You can also buy used books from the BookRenter Basement. What’s more you can take notes (use highlighters for instance) on the books you borrow from BookRenter. You can return in-store at any of the affiliated locations or ship your return with a pre-paid shipping label. (Read Directory mention)



cheap used college textbooks

Chegg is very similar to the previous book rental website when it comes to book return guarantees, shipping speed, and even social service. Chegg is a selling point for your own books as well as textbook rentals at low prices. The differentiator is that Chegg offers course reviews and grade distributions as well as homework help for a course you select. Along with first hand reviews of a course, you also get a detailed schedule of the books you need for it. Comparing the list price and the rental, Chegg offers significant savings…some go up to 90%. (Read Directory mention)

cheap used college textbooks
This too is a similar site with a very similar service. shows that when it comes to cheap textbooks for purchase or rent, no site is too many as it almost mirrors the service offerings of the above two sites. The book rental site has a referral program that lets you earn $5 for each friend you refer to the site for a book rental or purchase. The site offers free shipping on orders above $25.


cheap used college textbooks


You can sell and ship your used textbooks for free via the buyback program.  Most of it goes back into the textbook rental program on eCampus. You can also choose to buy a book at a low-cost (with savings upto 90%). Some books also have digital copies (eTextbooks) which again come in two versions – online version and an offline viewing version. When it comes to returning your rented textbooks, shipping is free for all orders over $59 and rental return shipping is always free.

Campus Books

rent college textbooks

This book rental site comes with its own smartphone apps. Campus Books also offers in-store pickup of books along with a very handy local search feature. The iPhone and Android apps use GPS to locate one near you, and you can the site search to get to libraries or retails shops for the book you want. Campus Books also searches a catalog of 8 million books for the best deals available. If you want to rent textbooks, use the rental comparison engine which compares results from ten book rental companies at once.


rent college textbooks


BookByte is a simpler textbook buying and selling service. The Guaranteed Buyback service is appealing because at the end of the term you are not obliged to return the book. You can sell your book back to BookByte for a lower purchase price and a 10% rebate when you return the textbook. Also, if your Guaranteed Buyback order totals over $49.00 then your shipping is free.

Big Words

rent college textbooks is a comparative search engine that compares books across bookstores and brings you the lowest one on new and used textbooks. You can also use it to search for student loans, DVDs, music, and games.

Direct Textbook

The 10 Best Sites To Rent Or Buy College TextBooks Cheaply textbooks07


Using Direct textbook to hunt for a new or used textbook is a three step process. Simply search for a book, browse through the search results, and then visit any of the 200 stores that the site taps to buy or rent your textbook. The textbook search engine sources online book retail sites like Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and some of the others we cover here. If you are planning to sell your used textbook, the site lets you check the best buyback price at 25+ stores.

 Student Book Trades

The 10 Best Sites To Rent Or Buy College TextBooks Cheaply textbooks09

The unique feature of the college textbook book site is definitely the monthly free giveaway. Above that, the site is based on trade…you can list your textbooks here (the ones you have and a wishlist of the ones you want) and use it to trade and exchange textbooks with others. Check out the long list of participating colleges on the site.

Textbook Recycling

cheap college textbooks

The name of the website gives away the reason why I included it here on the list. You can buy, rent, and sell college textbooks here. When you sell books to this website, they will donate 1/2 % above what they offer you to one of the charitable organizations they support.  Donated books help support global literacy partners through their Books OverseasTM program.

These textbook websites are just tip of the knowledge iceberg. Check out two previous posts too which give a few more options for cheap college textbooks:

The Top 5 Sites To Find Your College Textbooks The 11 Best Sites to Get College Textbooks Online Don't let college textbooks empty your pockets every semester. Use these websites to buy or rent cheap college books. Read More
3 Websites To Purchase Electronic College Textbooks 3 Websites To Purchase Electronic College Textbooks One of the biggest shocks for me when I first enrolled in college was the insane cost of textbooks. Unfortunately, there is really no way to cut out this problem, but if you don't want... Read More

Where are you heading? Let us know which book rental website is your favorite just for the user experience. And don’t forget that you’ll need a backpack to hold all those new books The Best Backpacks for College Students With Laptops We know there's a lot of choice out there, so we've rounded up the best backpacks for college students with laptops. Read More !

Related topics: Buying Tips, Ebooks, Education Technology, Reading, Save Money, Study Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Terri
    January 22, 2017 at 4:04 am

    This is super helpful! Thanks for the article :) Do you know if these websites are still reliable? I've read that a few of the sites are scams recently and need a textbook for one of my classes so I'm curious to know where to look. Thanks!

    • Saikat Basu
      January 22, 2017 at 6:04 am

      Hi Terri, most of the sites on this are still reliable. But as this is from 2011, I haven't had a chance to vet them again. The comments in this article say they are safe. Else, someone would have piped up.
      For anything online, always exercise a bit of caution obviously. Don't blindly share any purchase or personal info!

  2. Rachel
    September 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Honestly, this article saved me. I needed a textbook for my class tomorrow (yes, I know procrastination is a bitch) and it guided me to the right site in order to get fast shipping and a complimentary e textbook!

    • Saikat Basu
      September 26, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Great Rachel. Here's to more discoveries and high grades ;)

  3. maryhelen
    August 16, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Well as many things go in the free market/unfair pricing, it took a law, which is that a college (professors) has to announce the required books a few weeks before the start of school SO students can shop around for the best price. For me, not only did I not have the websites,(and RENT?? books unheard of) but until the first day of class, when the syllabus was passed out and the prof announced it-- I/we did not know the required books for any class. Then, we headed down to the college bookstore to get all our books there.

  4. Bob
    July 20, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Great list even after a few years. I agree price comparison sites are a big help not only in finding the cheapest price but also comparing buy vs rent, International Editions, Prior Editions and other tricks for saving on your textbook costs. Disappointed my favorite site was not listed

  5. Steph
    January 17, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I usually rent all my textbooks from Amazon. They come in fast and a lot of times they are cheaper than at other websites.

    • Saikat Basu
      January 19, 2016 at 6:34 am

      I am not sure, but was the Amazon rental option there 5 years back? It's only in US so far I think. Hope they bring it their other stores as well.

  6. Anonymous
    August 14, 2015 at 5:37 am

    These are reliable sites. I would also recommend since the website's search engine makes it easier to find the book you are looking for. Aside from that, you can also sell your used school supplies here.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks Clyde. It is down for me, but I will check it out later.

  7. Anonymous
    July 29, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Any idea where international students can sell their textbooks?

  8. Saikat Basu
    March 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Yes. Sites like Book Finder are helpful too as meta-search engines.

  9. Ingrid
    March 13, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I've used a combination of websites including Amazon, the price varies on the availability at the specific website. I would suggest typing in the ISBN number into the search field and you can get a comparison that way.

  10. sasha
    November 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    i've had nothing but good experiences with, and when i compare them with other college book rental sites, their prices always win with prompt delivery.

  11. Saikat Basu
    November 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

    $500 in one semester is quite a nice amount. The site also looks pretty neat, and as you have mentioned it, I am assuming that your daughter didn't find any reason to complain.

  12. Saikat Basu
    October 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Really looking for personal testimonials from people like you to enhance the value of this article. Most of the sites are pretty similar, so it's difficult to distinguish one from the other from the outside. Thanks for the link.

  13. Aibek
    October 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

    thanks for the link, will check it out